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Update on WNUSP Advocacy and Older Persons’ Rights

August 26, 2013

older persons wnuspWNUSP International Representative, Tina Minkowitz, attended from the 12-15 August 2013 -the “UN open ended working group on aging” and delivered three statements on behalf of WNUSP during the discussion. This group is considering the possibility of adopting a new instrument on the rights of older persons.

Tina explains: “My aim in this process is mainly to ensure that the gains of CRPD are maintained, particularly on legal capacity, liberty and right to live in the community; in addition to bring up issues affecting older persons that are of concern to WNUSP in different regions.”

Tina continues from the text of her main statement at the UN:

“There is overlap with CRPD in some key areas where CRPD innovated.

There are three categories of individuals I would characterize as older persons with disabilities: persons with disabilities as they age, older persons who acquire age-related disabilities, and older persons who may not experience themselves as persons with disabilities but who face discrimination based on others’ perception of them as having certain limitations or impairments.

A new instrument can improve the standards for older persons with disabilities, complementing the CRPD by focusing on age discrimination and specifically age-related human rights violations.

Any new instrument, including a global instrument as well as the regional ones being considered, must adhere to CRPD standards that currently apply to older persons with disabilities.

Of particular concern are:

The right of all persons with disabilities to enjoy and exercise legal capacity in all aspects of life (CRPD Article 12).

 Large numbers of older persons are under guardianship, which the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities holds to violate this provision; instead supported decision-making must be instituted, which respects the autonomy, will and preferences of the individual.

The right to liberty and security of the person, (CRPD Article 14) and the right to live independently and be included in the community (CRPD Article 19).

 Large numbers of older persons are deprived of their liberty in institutions which may be called nursing homes or long term care facilities, as well as in psychiatric institutions.  In these institutions they are also commonly subjected to administration of neuroleptics and other mind-altering drugs against their will or without their free and informed consent, a practice that has been condemned by the Special Rapporteur on Torture.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities holds that institutional care systems must be eliminated and that involuntary internment based on a disability must be abolished; all health services including all mental health services must be based on free and informed consent of the person concerned.

By incorporating these existing high standards into a new treaty on the rights of older persons, the international community will ensure that older persons with disabilities are fully included in protection against age discrimination and guarantees leading to the realization of their full human rights.”

WNUSP has submitted the following documents that will further describe these important interventions made internationally:

WNUSP Intervention Rights of Older Persons 13 Aug 2013

Proposals 
for
 Text 
to 
be 
Incorporated 
into
 an 
International 
Instrument
 on 
the
 Rights
 of 
Older 
Persons 26 July 2013

Relevance to Older Persons of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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